I might not be able to speak Bengali or know too much about Bengali culture (I try), but I sure as hell LOVE Bengali food. I have eaten a fair bit of it growing up, especially at my grandmom’s house. My aunts, to this day, feed me at least some Bengali food when I visit them. I make some Bengali food at home now and am constantly looking to add more to my repertoire.
Even though I have barely spent any time in Kolkata (where I was born), Bengali food to me is extremely synonymous to home. To comfort. To nostalgia. To deliciousness.
When I go to a Bengali restaurant, I am always keen to try new things and also to try my absolutely rubbish broken Bengali 🙂 I guess this is a way for me to connect to that part of my heritage.
One thing that screams Bengali food is Kasundi. Kasundi is this pungent, spicy, fermented mustard sauce that is integral to Bengali cuisine. It is used as a dip or as part of a curry and it just explodes in your mouth with each bite. It is potent, believe me! It is also extremely delicious! The only other remotely similar flavour bomb is wasabi, in my opinion.
This chicken dish uses Kasundi in the curry and is pretty damn tasty 🙂
Growing up, I had seen kasundi being used primarily with fish. Never with chicken. However, I was forced to research cooking with chicken because the husband doesn’t eat fish. I had bought some kasundi from Kolkata and was super excited to cook with it. I also really wanted K to try kasundi and get a flavour of an ingredient I love so much. After much researching, I adapted a recipe from Bong Mom’s Cookbook , my go to for all things Bengali.
Coconut milk helps to balance out the pungency of the kasundi, leaving you with this smooth, spicy chicken curry. Perfectly paired with steamed, white rice 🙂
Just look at that kasundi. Golden, flecked with spice, thick and divine. YUM.
My friends at work loved this dish. None of them have ever had kasundi before and it can be a rather shocking flavour for some. But so far, everyone who has tried this has loved it. YAY! Kasundi taking over the world 😀
Buy some good kasundi and make this recipe. It will be life changing.
1 kg boneless chicken breast – cut into 2 inch pieces
4 tsp ginger garlic paste
3 tbsp mustard oil
1 tsp turmeric (haldi) powder
6 tbsp kasundi
200 ml (1 cup) coconut milk
1/2 cup water
1/2 tsp nigella (kalonji) seeds
3 green chillies – split length wise
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
salt to taste
3 tbsp fresh coriander leaves – chopped
- Wash and dry the chicken pieces. Marinate with turmeric, 1 tbsp mustard oil, 2 tsp ginger garlic paste and 1/2 tsp salt. Cover and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.
- Once ready, heat a pan and add 2 tbsp mustard oil. Once the oil is hot, add the nigella seeds and split green chillies.
- When the seeds are spluttering, add 2 tsp ginger garlic paste and cook for a few minutes till the raw smell goes away.
- Add the marinated chicken to pan, mix well and let it cook for 10 mins. The chicken will be partially cooked through and look golden-yellow.
- Now add the kasundi and mix well. Cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk and water, mix well. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.
- Adjust the salt. Add chilli powder and cook, covered, for another 10 or so minutes till the chicken is done. Add the fresh coriander once the chicken is ready.
- The curry is not meant to be too watery, so if needed increase the heat, uncover the pan and cook for a few more mins till some of the water evaporates.
- Serve hot with steamed rice.